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Success Stories

While we serve thousands of meals and provide a broad range of services that meet necessities, we connect with each guest to affirm his or her goodness and value, always learning an individual’s name and story. Below are testimonials from our guests, our volunteers, and our program participants:

Guests and Volunteers

Most of my life I worked various jobs through temp agencies including: a car wash, food service, and building maintenance. I love living in Over-the-Rhine and very happy with all the changes to the neighborhood. Gentrification did push some people out, but now the neighborhood is more liveable, clean and safe for everyone than it was in the 1980’s when I arrived. The changes in the neighborhood have brought new pride and a new partnership into the community. People who come to the Dining Room are not outcasts here, but they are welcomed with love and no judgement.

- Guest

I was born St. Patrick’s Day in Youngstown, Ohio and named after my father. In 2017, I got stranded in Cincinnati after riding a Greyhound bus with a friend. I am a very proud mother of seven children – 5 sons, 1 daughter and 1 infant deceased. My children range in ages 31 to 21 years old. I am not able to work but I do receive some SSI. I LOVE coming to the Dining Room because I love the staff who are really sweet. They make me feel very welcome and safe. The coffee and bag lunch are my favorite.

Edie - Guest

Born into a family of 12 boys, I spent my childhood in the infamous Cabrini Green housing project on the south side of Chicago. After being shot at close range with a sawed off shot gun, I left Chicago in 1986. The shooter was a gang member who wanted me to sell drugs for him. Although I never married, I have 2 daughters and am very proud that both finished high school.

Derrick - Guest

I am a native Cincinnatian, raised on the city’s west side and a high school graduate. As an only child, who never married and has no children, I have worked many jobs throughout my lifetime including: factory work, maintenance, building security and at local restaurants. Currently, I live in a subsidized apartment near Over-the-Rhine and receive SSI since 2016. A daily visit to the Dining Room gives me an opportunity to socialize with other guests and the volunteers. Everyone is so nice at St. Francis Seraph Ministries and the free food is really good. The rules are enforced and problem guests are dealt with right away so I am never afraid coming to the Dining Room because fighting is not tolerated.

Tim - Guest

Born and raised in Cincinnati, I am proud of my educational achievements which include earning a GED and an Associate Degree in Business Management. Due to 2 car accidents in 2017, injuries prevent me from full time employment. I learned about the Dining Room when taking a Sarah Center jewelry class. Now, I am a guest and a volunteer. I really like how friendly the place is and how the food is always good. I know how important places like this are for the whole community. Volunteering in the Dining Room makes me feel good. Giving back always feels so good. The Dining Room helps me keep a positive perspective on my own struggles.

Regina - Guest and Volunteer

Cooking for the Family Participants

I really, really enjoyed this cook class it has open my taste buds to try new food I never would have tried.

- Guest

I learned so much! Even things I didn't expect to learn. I love this class.

- Guest

As a cooker I enjoyed enhancing upon what I already know.

- Guest

The dishes that were chosen were great, it provides me with more variety of food/meals.

- Guest

I did not like certain ingredients, but I like learning new things and trying new tastes.

- Guest

Learned new techniques and great people. I added really healthy ideas to my kitchen.

- Guest

The dishes that were chosen were great, it provides me with more variety of food/meals.

- Guest

I will be buying more greens and grains from the store now that I know how to cook them. Usually i buy spinach and romaine for cold salads and oatmeal for cookies. Was so glad to be able to take this class, Mona done a terrific job teaching. Thank You very much.

- Guest

Thank you for allowing me to participate . I loved this class, I learned so much from Chef Mona. What a great idea on so many levels . Teaching basic cooking skills, nutrition information, crating meals, and developing relationships ones that would never happen except through something like this. I’m a firm believer in C. S. Lewis’ quote from The Four Loves, “Friendship is about something else”.

Nancy S. - Guest

You [Leigh Gorman, one of our chef instructors] popped in my head today as I was prepping Jake's before game meal and then our dinner for tonight. I remember coming to your class and being so unsure of myself cooking wise yet so eager to learn so I could be a part of making Jake well again. You know he has been off medicine for 2 years now and still in remission. How wonderful of a healer food can be. Just wanted to thank you again for making me feel so comfortable there and for helping me on this great path not only for Jake but for my whole family. I feel blessed with every veggie I cut and every meal I prepare.

Keri W. - Guest

Sarah Center / #Stitched# Participants

Job Skills Learned

The Sarah Center’s #Stitched# program helped me get a full-time job.

Joe - Guest

Discovered Sewing Talent

I was excited and looked forward to the next class and discovering a talent in sewing. I was surprised at my flash back to my early childhood of my grandmother and aunts sewing.

Br. David - Guest

Learned a Wide Variety of Skills

I really like learning all the skills. It inspires creativity. I think we learned a very wide variety of skills. I am a happy student!!

Terhas - Guest

Wonderful Class

I really enjoyed the humor and the sharing that we all experienced. Lois, the teacher, made learning a lot of fun. Wonderful class.

Steve - Guest

Learned Basic Sewing Skills

I liked the content being taught, basic sewing skills like backstitching and threading the machine. I also enjoyed the projects and the facts that they got progressively harder. I talked with my mom about how much I love the class – now she has signed up for the next class.

Nicole - Guest

Learned Hand Sewing

I really loved this class and I was happy that we started with hand sewing. I also enjoyed the challenges.

Caprice - Guest

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